This is sickening in so many ways. Sickening that it’s happening. Sickening that it’s been happening. Sickening that us liberals didn’t raise hell over this while it continued to happen under a Democratic president. Whatever you want to tell yourself about our country, this is America.
The Intercept obtained this photo from a federal courthouse in Pecos, Texas. It’s strictly forbidden to do so, which is why we don’t see images like this more often. The reason we do this is thanks to a Bush-era policy called Operation Streamline. It’s a “zero-tolerance” approach to unauthorized border-crossings, and it’s specifically designed to try up to 70 people at a time.
You heard that right.
In a “democracy.”
70 people stand trial.
Even if all 70 of them are guilty of breaking the law, ushering that many people through court at a time is inherently anti-democratic, and eventually bound to sweep up plenty of innocent folks. Not to mention, many of these people trying to cross our border are refugees fleeing certain death in the countries we are sending them back to. This is why abolishing ICE (created in 2003) and its kind should be at the center of Democratic immigration reform.
This is all de facto ethnic cleansing, and things like Operation Streamline make it the explicit policy of the Department of Homeland Security—which was birthed into being in 2002. We need to stop treating Bush-era barbarism like established law—like President Obama did—and we need to start becoming the country that we claim to be, lest we be devoured by the country that we presently are.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.